By Jake Crosby
He is the drug industry’s newer, trendier go-to guy in the media, replacing the role of Arthur Allen, who took a break to write about tomatoes. An expatriate of “Science”Blogs who now blogs for Discover, and contributing editor to Science Progress, Chris Mooney is perhaps Pharma’s newest writer who has taken on the task of spoon-feeding its message to the public.
He has co-written a book with Sheril Kirshenbaum entitled “Unscientific America,” where he briefly writes about this controversy as an example of something that should be written off as…well…unscientific. In an interview for his book in The LA Times, he slams Age of Autism and praises his former domain, “Science”Blogs. The interview aroused a series of emails from Ginger Taylor of Adventures in Autism
to Chris Mooney, Sheril Kirshenbaum, and Mooney’s interviewer Lori Kozlowski. Of the three, Chris Mooney was the only one who did not reply.
His involvement in this debate has since intensified. Most recently, he appeared on the MSNBC show, “Morning Joe,” with former Vice President of Consumer Education for Johnson and Johnson Nancy Snyderman, who said that no studies show a link between vaccines and autism, a bald-faced lie. To criticize studies is one thing, but to deny that they even exist is flat-out drug industry denialism, the kind Mooney apparently felt no discomfort in associating himself with. He certainly had no problem taking advice from Michael Specter, who started writing about this controversy in his book from the same biased perspective by plagiarizing Paul Offit’s talking points. Specter’s book “Denialism” was, if anything, written from denialism.
Yet despite the previously described mingling with obvious denialists and plagiarists, Chris Mooney is perhaps most notorious in the autism community, for the May 2009 article he contributed to Discover Magazine, entitled, “Why does the Vaccine/Autism Controversy Live On?” Now, that doesn’t really say much, given that Mooney has never managed to get his articles regularly published in anything above D-level pop science magazines such as SEED, and the Skeptical Inquirer.